Friday, September 21, 2007

I'm writing this post on behalf of 3.

The first is my girlfriend Ms. K, we went to the same primary school....grew up in Port Harcourt, attended the same University, studied the same course, were room mates for three of our four years in the University... Now, she lives in the U.K and I live in Nigeria, continents apart but still tight friends... we don't get to see every year but I love her for all the memories we share, for the times she had my back and for the times she stood up for me when I couldn't do things my self...this one's for us...

The second is my blogger pal believer who I haven't had the pleasure of meeting but whose posts on her blog encourage me immensely. A lot of the time I just go to her blog and read her posts and I leave encouraged... His word says we should worship Him in the days of our youth and she really is a motivation to do so. I hope we get to meet someday girl...this one's for us...

I am the third of the trio. Yours truly, Nyemoni. I will leave you guys to make up your minds what to make of me, but this one's for us....

We three share the birth date 22/09. I'm doing this for us all, because we are all grateful to God....for allowing us reach yet another milestone in our lives..I may be doing it different this time around, but the point is that we are grateful...

Father Lord, we thank You
We thank you because of your Grace upon our lives
We thank you because of unwarranted favour on our families and ourselves
We thank you because of the Good health you gave me

God, we bless you
We bless you for your provision
We bless you because you are our help
We bless you because your Angels have taken charge over us

Abba father, We glorify your name
We glorify your name because You are the God greater than all other gods
We glorify your name because You are the Father who answers
We glorify Your name because of your promises to us

We Praise you because we know that no matter how much or how little we say You know what is good for us and You know even before we ask that which is important for us...
We are Grateful...

Guys please join us as we cross another milestone tomorrow... will not be here to post but my girl believer will be... Join us as we cross over to another year! Let the party begin!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hi guys,

This is another entry from Chicken soup for the soul. Enjoy!

The Baggy Yellow Shirt by Patricia Lorenz

The baggy yellow shirt had long sleeves, four extra large pockets trimmed in black thread and snaps up the front. Not terribly attractive, but utilitarian without a doubt. I found it in December 1963 during my freshman year in college when I was home on Christmas break.
Part of the fun of vacation at home was the chance to go through Mom's hoard of rummage, destined for the less fortunate. She regularly scoured the house for clothes, bedding and house wares to give away, and the collection was always stored in paper bags on the floor of the front hall closet.
Looking through Mom's collection one day, I came across this oversized yellow shirt, slightly faded from years of wear but still in decent shape.
Just the thing to wear over my clothes during art class!" I said to myself.
"You're not taking that old thing, are you?" Mom said when she saw me packing it. "I wore that when I was pregnant with your brother in 1954!"
"It's perfect for art class, Mom. Thanks!" I slipped it into my suitcase before she could object.
The yellow shirt became a part of my college wardrobe. I loved it. All during college, it stayed with me, always comfortable to throw over my clothes during messy projects. The underarm seams had to be reinforced before I graduated, but there was plenty of wear in that old garment.
After graduation I moved to Denver and wore the shirt the day I moved into my apartment. Then I wore it on Saturday mornings when I cleaned. Those four large pockets on the front-two breast pockets and two at hip level-made a super place to carry dust cloths, wax and polish.
The next year, I married. When I became pregnant, I found the yellow shirt tucked in a drawer and wore it during those big belly days. Though I missed sharing my first pregnancy with Mom and Dad and the rest of my family, since we were in Colorado and they were in Illinois, that shirt helped remind me of their warmth and protection. I smiled and hugged the shirt when I remembered that Mother had worn it when she was pregnant.
By 1969, after my daughter's birth, the shirt was at least 15 years old. That Christmas, I patched one elbow, washed and pressed the shirt, wrapped it in holiday paper and sent it to Mom. Smiling, I tucked a note in one of the pockets saying: "I hope this fits. I'm sure it will look great on you!" When Mom wrote to thank me for her "real" gifts, she said the yellow shirt was lovely. She never mentioned it again.
The next year, my husband, daughter and I moved from Denver to St. Louis and we stopped at Mom and Dad's house in Rock Falls, Illinois, to pick up some furniture. Days later, when we uncrated the kitchen table, I noticed something yellow taped to its bottom. The shirt! And so the pattern was set.
On our next visit home, I secretly placed the shirt between the mattress and box springs of Mom and Dad's bed. I don't know how long it took her to find it, but almost two years passed before I got it back.
By then our family had grown.
This time Mom got even with me. She put it under the base of our living room lamp, knowing that as a mother of three little ones, housecleaning and moving lamps would not be everyday events. . .
When I finally got the shirt, I wore it often while refinishing "early marriage" furniture that I found at rummage sales. The walnut stains on the shirt simply added more character to all its history.
Unfortunately, our lives were full of stains, too.
My marriage had been failing almost from the beginning. After a number of attempts at marriage counseling, my husband and I divorced in 1975. The three children and I prepared to move back to Illinois to be closer to the emotional support of family and friends.
As I packed, a deep depression overtook me. I wondered if I could make it on my own with three small children to raise. I wondered if I would find a job. Although I hadn't read the Bible much since my Catholic school days, I paged through the Good Book, looking for comfort. In Ephesians, I read, "So use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will be standing up."
I tried to picture myself wearing God's armor, but all I saw was me wearing the stained yellow shirt. Of course! Wasn't my mother's love a piece of God's armor? I smiled and remembered the fun and warm feelings the yellow shirt had brought into my life over the years. My courage was renewed and somehow the future didn't seem so alarming.
Unpacking in our new home and feeling much better, I knew I had to get the shirt back to Mother. The next time I visited her, I carefully tucked it in her bottom dresser drawer, knowing that sweater weather was months away.
Meanwhile my life moved splendidly. I found a good job at a radio station and the children thrived in their new environment.
A year later during a window-washing spurt, I found the crumpled yellow shirt hidden in a rag bag in my cleaning closet. Something new had been added. Emblazoned across the top of the breast pocket were the bright green newly embroidered words, "I
BELONG TO PAT." Not to be outdone, I got out my own embroidery materials and added an apostrophe and seven more letters. Now the shirt proudly proclaimed, "I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER."
Once again, I zigzagged all the frayed seams. Then I enlisted the aid of a dear friend, Harold, to help me get it back to Mom. He arranged to have a friend mail the shirt to Mom from Arlington, Virginia. We enclosed a letter announcing that she was the recipient of an award for her good deeds. The award letter, on official looking stationery printed at the high school where Harold was assistant principal, came from "The Institute for the Destitute."
This was my finest hour. I would have given anything to see Mom's face when she opened the "award" box and saw the shirt inside. But, of course, she never mentioned it.
On Easter Sunday the following year, Mother managed a coup de grace. She walked into our home with regal poise, wearing that old shirt over her Easter outfit, as if it were an integral part of her wardrobe.
I'm sure my mouth hung open, but I said nothing. During the Easter meal, a giant laugh choked my throat. But I was determined not to break the unbroken spell the shirt had woven into our lives. I was sure that Mom would take off the shirt and try to hide it in my home, but when she and Dad left, she walked out the door wearing, "I BELONG TO PAT'S MOTHER" like a coat of arms.
A year later, in June 1978, Harold and I were married. The day of our wedding, we hid our car in a friend's garage to avoid the usual practical jokers. After the wedding, while my husband drove us to our honeymoon suite in Wisconsin, I reached for a pillow in the car so I could rest my head. The pillow felt lumpy. I unzipped the case and discovered a gift, wrapped in wedding paper.
I thought it might be a surprise gift from Harold. But he looked as stunned as I. Inside the box was the freshly pressed yellow shirt.
Mother knew I'd need the shirt as a reminder that a sense of humor, spiced with love, is one of the most important ingredients in a happy marriage. In a pocket was a note: Read John 14:27-29. I love you both, Mother."
That night I paged through a Bible I found in the hotel room and found the verses: "I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do, you will believe in me."
The shirt was Mother's final gift.
She had known for three months before my wedding that she had a terminal disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease). Mother died 13 months later, at age 57. I must admit that I was tempted to send the yellow shirt with her to her grave. But I'm glad I didn't, because it is a vivid reminder of the love filled game she and I played for 16 years.
Besides, my older daughter is in college now, majoring in art . . . and every art student needs a baggy yellow shirt with big pockets for art class!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hey guys, thanks for all your comments to my posts...I appreciate the responses.. I meant to put up this meme for a long time now, but I never got around to doing it. I can't even credit the blogger from who's blog I got this 'cos I've forgotten. I tag all my regular blog visitors.... Have a nice weekend guys!

Accent: Dunno! Ask My friends..
Booze: Can’t abide by it, so no booze for me, thanks
Chore I Hate: Tidying up and scrubbing the toilet
Dogs/Cats: Hard to decide cos I grew up with both! But dogs, I think...
Essential electronics: Radio, Portable music device, TV..
Favourite Perfume: Organza by Givenchy & Poême by Lancomê

Gold/Silver: Gold.
Hometown: Abonnema (Nyemoni), Rivers State
Insomnia: Hardly ever!

Job title: It’s too complicated!
Kids: 1 for now and hopefully 2 more!
Living arrangements: Pretty comfy apartment…
Most admired trait: I heard them say they can confide in me and I am fun to hang with!
Number of sexual partners: And how?
Overnight hospital stays: Typhoid Fever and after childbirth.
Phobia: Electrophobia
Quote: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (1 Peter 4:8-9)
Religion: Christianity
Siblings: 5- 1 sis, 4 bros
Time I usually awake: 6a.m
Unusual talent: I’ve still not discovered it…
Vegetable I refuse to eat: Can’t think of any..
Worst habit: Delay…
X-rays: Age 6 when I swallowed my dads’ little key!
Yummy foods I make: Okra soup, Spaghetti Bolognese, Kekefiyaye
Zodiac sign: Don’t believe in those things..


Play list
I'm loving Justin Timberlake so much right now so I leave you with two of his songs from his latest album FutureSex/LoveSounds.. Songs are Lovestoned and Losing my way (Hawt! Hawt! Hawt!) Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We all know that the only thing constant in life is change. But it is also one of the things we dread most. It's because we do not know exactly what the wind of change will blow our way. If the change which comes our way is positive change, one that elevates us financially, socially and indeed in all ramifications we would be all for it, but when it is an ill wind that blows our way we almost know for sure that dire consequences await us.

Such is the plight of some of us, who rather than take the hurdles we come across in life as lessons and try to pick up the threads of our lives would fall deeper into the clutches of despair, despondence, depression.

My father has this theory: Constant wrong decisions = Failure

I don't know where he got this but I believe it.. It's a formula he swears by and has instilled in all his children. I like this formula because it seems sound to me.... of course that does not necessarily mean that all who fail have constantly made wrong decisions or that making constantly right decisions if the fool-proof way to success but in a nutshell, the theory seems pretty concise to me.

This leads me to my post for today.... I was pondering about certain acquaintances of my husband and I who were very well to do in the late '90's and now live like paupers. I am in no way celebrating their lot but I spent a lot of time in thought about the term "falling from grace to grass". It hit home when we paid a visit to this couple.....

Case Study:
Joel (my hubby's childhood playmate)and Mariam (not real names) got married in the late '90's.... then it was all rosy as Joel had a lot of money from his "Oil Bunkering business" -the most legitimate of all illegal businesses- and he had so much cash to spend then.... they always had parties for absolutely no reason and Mariam was always off to some distant country to buy goods to sell.... They lived a fast life, spending, partying, having fun, I used to wonder then just how rich I would have to be to spend without planning- that was how it seemed to me. She had two kids in quick succession and life seemed like it was going to be eternally blissful because they were living the life!

Fast forward to hubby was away in school so I basically lost contact with his 'friends' some of them called occasionally, others even visited. I lost all touch with Joel and Mariam. In 2005, we ran into them at an event and they look like a shadow of their former selves... No nice clothes, no bling and just plain simple... I had to ask my sis-in-law if she noticed. Of course she did and we wondered, but left it at that...
Moving on to this year I got a call from Joel that Mariam had just put to birth and he wanted us to know... being that the Christening fell on a week day, we were unable to attend (because of work commitments and hubby and I decided between ourselves to visit them on any given Saturday.

Two Saturdays ago, we decided to visit them and called to let them know we were on our way. Wifey reluctantly gave us sketchy descriptions to their place... we got to the general area and called...believe me, it took about 5 calls before she answered and gave some more directions. We eventually located the place and parked on the street because we were not told which house it was....It took an over 20 minute wait and our having to question some security guards with descriptions of the family and the fact that a new baby was born recently for them to identify the house were looking for. Hubby wanted to go in, but I dissuaded him and told him to be patient....after all, we didn't give them the benefit of telling them beforehand that we planned to visit....

Finally Mariam made her exit from the compound- as we say in naijaspeak- and ushered us in...she was a shadow of her former self and she looked so embarrassed.... we got in and were all trying to act normal and all, Joel initially claimed to be sleeping, but later came out and it was on the whole a painful visit.... I felt so bad and I just wondered what went wrong...we all chatted for a while about old times and then Joel took hubby aside and confided in him about his situation. He alluded to the fact that his wife and her family ran him down...He said he spent millions for her dads burial, she never brought a penny in from her business, kept demanding for money for more...How very easy to apportion blame! They never saved for a rainy day....How about the houses you were building, my hubby asked? Which house? Apparently she spun tales about that and a lot of other things as well...bla bla bla...but where do they start? With 3 kids and no income, what do they do?

Our analogy on our return home was that they did not invest.... they thought that whatever their source of income was would last forever.... I recalled the days when I would see Mariam and she would go, Joel's building 2 houses now...One in Lekki Phase 1 and the other at VGC...where are the houses? I'm going to the UK next week to buy things for resale... what happened?.... She never even completed her Law degree at the University because she dropped out of school after her wedding...why oh why? Even the business she was doing never brought any money in, she went back for more and more from her hubby for every trip, Whatever happened?

I mourned their circumstance but I took the lesson with me. It pays to live with an uncertain tomorrow in mind because change will come and then, what happens?.... What do we do if an ill wind blows our way? Of course the average Nigerian will bind and cast and say tufiakwa! But still we know that He who fails to plan has planned to fail. As for me and my house....God help us, we're planning for our tomorrow today!


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